Don't take life too serious.

Conflicted Heart: A Stay at Home Mom Returns to Work.

Why does my heart feel like it’s going to beat right out of my chest? I swear I feel almost naseous right now. Ok, get a grip and just make the call.

“Good afternoon, Thank you for calling STS. How can I help you?”

“Hi. May I please speak with Barbara?”

“Sure. Can I ask who’s calling?”

“Yes. My name is Dawn and I’m calling to follow up on a job offer.”

“Oh yes, I remember you! Let me get Barb for ya.”

Ok. Now I feel like I’m about to cry. What the hell is wrong with me?

“Hi, Dawn! It’s so nice to hear from you. What can I do for you?”

“Hi, Barbara. I’m excited to let you know I’ve decided to accept the position offered and join your team at STS.”


As I hung up the phone, it hit me. These weren’t the regular rattled nerves I get when I have to make an important phone call. My body was freaking out, because my mind was processing what this phone call really meant. My time being a stay at home mom is over. This is so incredibly bittersweet for me.

conflicted heart

The Sweet.

I’m ready. I am tired of struggling financially. Surviving on one middle class income is next to impossible, and that is a fucking shame. Seriously. It can be done, but the constant stress involved just became too much for me. That kind of stress affects everything and everyone. At times, it put a strain on my relationship that has never been felt before. I can’t live like that, especially when I don’t have to. Money is evil. What’s even more evil is when there isn’t enough of that shit. I get that more now than ever before in my life.

I am more than only a parent. I want my children to understand and witness that. I want them to see me not only contributing financially to our family, but more so, I want them to know what I am capable of. I work in the field of helping people because my heart is in it, which makes me good at it. I want to use my gifts for a purpose greater than a financial reward, and I want to model that for both of my children. My kids will know and understand they are my heart, even if I’m not standing right next to them all day.

 The Bitter.

I have been given the gift of time over the past two years. Time to be busy with things that really matter to me. We all do things in our jobs that matter, but it ultimately benefits someone else’s interests. I’ve had freedom to invest my time in my family and myself. I’ll forever be grateful for that. I’ve had the opportunity to be around for the good stuff–little man’s ‘just because’ cuddles, philosophical and/or ridiculous kid conversation in the middle of the day, putting the sassy one on the school bus and being home when her school day ends. I’ll miss that. Terribly.

Even though there have been days I am convinced I’m screwing my children up, I like that I am the one doing it. Nobody will take care of, teach and love my children the way I do. I absolutely do not want someone else in charge of all that for 8+ hours out of the day, but there is not middle ground to walk on with this situation.

My oldest daughter went to daycare for the first three years of her life and she is thriving. It’s not that I believe any less will be true for my son, but it’s different this time around. I’m all he knows. I know no one is going to sing him My Little Sunshine at nap time like I have done for the past two years. Call me a wuss, but that stings a little. Actually, it hurts like hell.

What I know now…

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know now what I want to do in the mean time. Live. Authentically live. Being home with my kids over the past two years and creating this blog has given me the insight and experiences to help me do just that. Not that I didn’t live a fulfilling life before, but until now, I had baggage that constantly sat heavy on my heart. The baggage isn’t gone, but put away in a room that I am more confident exploring it in. Finally, my story will help me move forward, not continue to anchor me in heartache.

I have learned that I can be both vulnerable and empowered. Any mom will tell you that being around a reflection of yourself all day will certainly strip you down, and hold your ego accountable. And like raising kids, you can’t run from yourself if you’re going to write. Being Momma full time and reconnecting with the pen has taught me to finally stop running. I needed that lesson.

I’m really a ball of emotion, as my last few weeks in SAHMville come to an end. I’m starting to notice little things that I know I’ll miss, and new or familiar things I’m looking forward to experiencing. I’m trying to stay positive and open about what this new chapter will bring. If nothing else, having the opportunity to be a SAHM has taught me to just let life happen. And that is exactly what I intend to do.


24 thoughts on “Conflicted Heart: A Stay at Home Mom Returns to Work.”

  1. First of all I’m crying reading this … because, well, I’m just like that. 😉 Second, this is one thing I know for certain: You’ve got this! You do. You will be sad and happy and sad again. But you are brave and smart and compassionate. This will work out for the best no matter what happens because your eyes are open and your heart is open and you are moving forward starting from a place of honesty and good intention. Your kids are so lucky to have you. Near or far you are their momma and nothing will change that. You’re trying a new adventure — how brave and inspiring. What a role model for your babes. I can’t wait to be a part of this journey with you. Looking forward to hearing how it goes! XO

    1. Jessica, I am a total crier so I love that you started your comment that way. 😉 I am definitely stressing about all this. Plus, (not complaining I swear) we have a family vacation the week before I start work so my brain is on over load. I keep trying to plan everything out…like I just said to my husband, “I think I’m going to double up on groceries the week before so I’m a little head of the game, ya know.” Like, once I go back to work there is a chance my family will starve because I won’t have a chance to get to the grocery store. I’m seriously losing my mind a little bit–more than usual. But! I know everything will work out, and this is for the best. Thank you so much for the comment girl. Seriously, it made my night.

      1. I’m seriously laughing now. We move from tears to laughter. Ha! And the starving family when momma goes to work … you are speaking my language. I’m projecting but I imagine all of the changes would be firing all of my triggers. Know you’re not alone in that department. I’m so proud of you! I’m happy for you and I think you are incredibly brave for embracing change. Enjoy your vacation! Don’t worry when you’re away. It’ won’t make a difference. 🙂 Sending love your way!

  2. Good for you, and congratulations on the job. I’m at home with my twins still, trying to build up my own design business to be something that can contribute meaningfully to our family income (and my fulfillment). It all is so bittersweet, and I love what you say about trying to just live.

    1. I wish, so much, that I could find that middle ground where I get to be more involved in my kids life AND mine. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist, for me anyway. I wish you mucho luck and good spirit on creating your design business. And twins? … I have a two yr old that is so full of naughtiness and db moves that even thinking about more than one of him at a time makes me want to drink. Heavily. Cheers to you momma!

  3. For what it’s worth, my kids are now (almost) 25 and 27, strong, independent, self-sufficient young adults, and they say my working (I’m an attorney) was the best thing I could have done for them. Interesting, neither remembers the 6 years I worked part-time and had those moments you’ve described (although I like to think we all benefitted from that time together).

    1. I definitely agree that everyone benefits when a parent gets to spend more time at home, even for a short period of time and even if the kids don’t remember it. It will be the same for me. Mine are 2 and 5. They’ll only remember very little, if anything about this time right now. I have no doubt our kids seeing us work outside the home is a good thing. I’ll get over my little pity party about not being home with them once everything becomes a little more routine. 😉

  4. Oh girl, you got this! I’m in awe of you actually. Both scenarios (SAHM and WOHM < working outside home mom, yes I made it up) have their challenges and benefits, and how lovely that you'll get to experience both as well as have your children witness you in both roles. Of course, the transition is bittersweet, as you've written, but you will go through that transition with grace and superhero strength because You. Are. Amazing. MWA XOXOXO

    1. And WOHM…love that. I hate saying “working mom”. I feel like it implies that a SAHM is not really working. And we both know that is some bullsh*t! Fer Sure. Seriously though, I’m a bit flustered (to say the least) about this upcoming transition. Even though I know it will all work out and things will fall in to place, change stresses me out! Thanks for your lovely comment, Beth. Really, so much. The support truly helps.

  5. You know what’s best for you and your family. I briefly went back to work outside my home and I remember those bittersweet feelings. It’s so hard. Even now, working from home most of the time, I feel guilt over whether I’m spending enough quality time with my kids. No matter which road we take, there will be pros and cons. One thing I tell myself when I’m questioning whether I’m doing the right thing is that this is just a season in my life. This season might last months or years but ultimately, nothing lasts forever. All my best wishes to you Dawn! You’re going to do great. 🙂

    1. Karen, I am forever reminding myself that this is “just a season in my life.” It took so much stress off of me once I started to come at this transition thinking that way. Not just with returning to work but also with returning to the work I did before I left. Once I stopped stressing about “forever” and focused on what really matters right now (it sounds cliché but…) it changed everything. It wasn’t until I “got” that that I could even finish this post. It has been sitting in my drafts for a week now. Thanks for the kind words and support, Karen.

  6. Good luck with the new job, Dawn!

    It’s going to be a huge adjustment, I think, for you and the kids, but what’s important is that you’re doing what’s best for your family. Also, I can identify with feeling like you’re screwing your kids up, but I highly doubt that’s the case. Through your experiences as a child you’ve learned valuable lessons on how NOT to raise a child, and they are benefiting from that.

    1. It will definitely be an adjustment for all of us. I’ve been the “working” mom before so I know what I’m walking in to…kinda It’s exhausting just to think about. lol Your kind and encouraging words mean a lot, Scott. Thank you so much.

  7. Wishing you good luck and much success as you go back into the work force.
    You’re already someone I respect and admire. As a woman who works full time I know there will be an adjustment but I’m so glad you found something you want to do and are going to do it.

    MUCH love, luck and success my friend.

    1. Kir, thank you so much. I wish I would say I am 100% sure that this is the right choice. That damn mom guilt is kicking in lately. Thanks for the support and encouraging words. Believe me, it helps. 🙂

      1. I believe in you. And I work F/T, an hour away from home and school and kids. I don’t have guilt, instead I have a VILLAGE of other moms who work, a school I trust and a husband who is just good.

        You can make this anything you want it to be and mold it for your family and your space. Wishing you good stuff and an ear if you need someone. XO

      2. Thank you for that! I will be commuting just under an hour away and am pretty nervous about it, so that was funny you mentioned that. Loved how you say life will “mold” the way we need it to. That it will.

  8. Hope and Pray things are Working out Well for You, my Dear Dawn! You have made Tough decisions, and You are a Fighter. In these instances, what follows is… Victory and Goodness. Much Love.

    [ PS: Am not able to read Your texts in the profile picture, and the one in the photograph. Change colour of fonts or something? 🙂 ]

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